Since I was a kid, I’ve loved hot dogs. When the craving hits and I don’t have any in the house, I will often go to 7-Eleven for a couple of quarter-pound Big Bites. They’re good, they’re cheap, and the chili and cheese are free!
Lately, I’ve noticed that 7-Eleven offers other prepared foods: Chicken sandwiches, cheeseburgers, pizza, chicken wings, and even mozzarella sticks in some locations. It’s even increasing the number of promotions for these items: Any sized coffee and a ring donut for $2. Two pizza slices for just $2. A 1/4 –lb. Big Bite and 32-oz. Big Gulp for $2 (and if you get a second Big Bite, most locations will let you up the soda size to 64 oz). More and more, I find myself going to 7-Eleven for not just my hot dog needs, but for my donut and pizza needs as well.
I’m just one example of an interesting trend in the fast food world: Quick-service chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s are facing increasingly stiff competition from convenience store chains like 7-Eleven and ampm as they expand their prepared food options. (more…)
Five years ago I opened up a hornet’s nest when I wrote my Top 10 listing of Chinese restaurants in the United States. The list included 10 California restaurants and none from New York, because even though New York once had the best Chinese food in the US, it now lagged badly behind Los Angeles and San Francisco. Despite howls of protests from outraged New Yorkers, the ranking of New York Chinese food is no longer arguable. Even New York Times columnist Mark Bittman stated rather matter of factly that, “for Chinese food, there’s no place in the United States like Southern California,” and in particular, the San Gabriel Valley.
More recently, I made a comment which on the surface might be viewed as an even greater insult to New York Chinese food. I said, “pound for pound, authentic Chinese food in Phoenix is better than that in New York.” I did not intend it to be a derogatory comment about New York Chinese food, and I didn’t mean to say that there wasn’t a lot of good Chinese food in New York. Rather, it was a reflection of the current state of Chinese food, where excellent Chinese food can be found in a lot more places than just a few years ago. (more…)
Planning a trip to Oregon? Wondering where to eat? Looking for a restaurant in your area that features Oregon wine? You’re in luck!
One of the most highly anticipated lists of the year was released in January by the Oregon Wine Board. The 2017 Oregon Wine A-List Awards recognizes restaurants across the world that enthusiastically support Oregon wine and show an appreciation for the diverse regions and varietals of Oregon. This year’s list includes over 90 restaurants in Oregon and the rest of America. It is wonderful to see so much support for Oregon wine around the country!
Here’s a secret: When I’m looking for Oregon wine to feature at my Cellar 503 wine club, I pop into these restaurants to uncover what hot new finds the local chefs and sommeliers have discovered. Check out a few of my faves: (more…)
The fast food industry is bringing back $4 value meals in full force, but this time with an added wrinkle: Customization.
Wendy’s is currently offering customers a limited-time offer to choose its Double Stack burger as a sandwich option for its $4 meal. Other choices include the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger and the Crispy Chicken BLT.
While other chains frown on substitutions for these meals — the promo poster for Carl’s Jr.’s meal explicitly states “No Substitutions” — don’t be surprised if that changes soon. Customization remains a growing trend in fast food, which could grow with the help of popular $4 meals. (more…)
In this ongoing series covering American cities with a historic center city Chinatown, there have been two distinct models. In most cities, the best and most authentic Chinese food migrated out of the historic Chinatown into either suburban Chinese communities or to secondary areas away from the downtown core. However, exceptions such as Philadelphia and Chicago illustrate the second model, where the historic Chinatown still reigns supreme, with a few secondary locales to find authentic Chinese food.
In the case of present-day Boston, however, neither model seems to fit. Ten or fifteen years ago, Boston’s historic Chinatown was still dominant, and indeed at that time, I commented that Chicago and Boston were the main exceptions to the suburbanization of Chinese food in America. Today, Boston Chinatown still dominates as a cultural and commercial center (though its borders are threatened by development and gentrification). While Chinatown has not been entirely eclipsed for dining, there is now significantly good Chinese food to be found outside its boundaries. (more…)